As if the source of the weather itself, smokes rises and spreads into the atmosphere from individual fires burning across the landscape of Kansas. In early Spring while the ground is still damp and the temperatures cool, controlled fires can be seen burning on farmlands throughout the south and midwest. From a distance the twisting spires of smoke look like tornadoes spiking the earth in random patterns. Their smoke columns rapidly rise, expand and diffuse into the tropopause as the smoke drifts across the landscape with the wind and its source remains anonymous.
A little fire creates a great cloud and, though only fueled by a small amount of debris, each relatively small mass of carbon burned becomes a massive cloud blanketing the earth when it is converted to a gaseous state. This is the carbon we can see…this burning is part of renewal as in a balanced cycle these fields will soon be filled with green plants producing food and oxygen…but it makes me stop and contemplate the more insidious burning we do where the gases aren’t so visible and our consumption lacks forethought and balance.